Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ospreys fly

For the past week I have been watching the osprey get settled back in their nest (from last year). I wonder if they had to do any remodeling? And, if you follow me you probably saw where the cell tower workmen had the birds 'up in the air' literally for two days while repairs were made to the tower. 

I have this aging piece of newspaper in my hand, as I speak. I saved it from Nov. of last year just so I could share the info with you when the osprey came back this spring.

Well, today is the day! It's Learn About Osprey Day!!

Did you know that osprey fly to South America every fall? The birds fly about 2,500 miles in about three weeks only stopping once or twice to rest and feed. They are guided by the stars and smells and wind. 

The female and male mate for life. But, one day every Fall the female will just take off by herself. No warning, no preparation. Doesn't even pack a bag!! She just leaves. A couple days later the male finally figures out that she isn't just out 'shopping' for food, that she's gone for the winter so he takes off, too. They don't spend their winters together, either. A friend of mine said that that's why they probably last a lifetime as a couple. They don't vacation together. 

In early March one of the birds will return to their nest. The ones I get to observe daily is atop a cell tower just beyond the pond at the apartment complex. 

(binoculars and camera zoom help with the distance).  
my daughter with the binoculars

I saw one return and then a couple days later I saw the two of them together. 

Yesterday Leslie and I witnessed a fight. A male was trying to 'move in' on the couple and got chased off. 

If the birds build on cell towers (evidently their favorite place) they build the nest on the southwest corner so that when the chicks learn to fly they take off into the prevailing winds. Last year I watched the chicks being fed and grow and one day I saw one of the parents take a chick for a flying lesson. I assume it was the mom. She flew along with the chick but kept a distance, giving it plenty of room to learn on it's own but close enough if things went wrong. She's dive this way and that encouraging the chick to follow along. That was pretty cool. 
two chicks in the nest with one of the parents

An osprey is about 2 feet long with a wingspan of five feet. They can dive up to 3 feet deep into water to grab fish and they carry their prey long ways instead of crossways like an eagle. It helps them fly better with a load. 

They live 15 to 20 years. So, it looks like I will get to observe this one couple living on the cell tower for probably as long as I live here. What a treat. In our area of Va. there are about 2,000 nesting couples who will do about 160,000 miles of migrating in their lifetimes. Now, that is a well-traveled pair! 

I hope you enjoyed your little lesson on ospreys. 

I have linked to Anni's The Bird D'Pot and Wild Bird Wednesday  Hope you will visit these sites to see more birds.

info on ospreys was taken from an article in the Suffolk News-Herald newspaper, written by Susan and Biff Andrews. 


  1. Absolutely AMAZING!!!!
    Thanks, for sharing this link at I'd Rather B Birdin' this week. [hope you linked up over there....I know I'm in my personal blog right now, I'll go check the Bird D'Pot also.]

    How exciting to have them nest so near by.

  2. Interesting lesson, Latane! I was fortunate to get to photograph (at quite a distance) an Osprey carrying a fish! Lucky you, to be able to see these birds every day!!! ♥

  3. What a wonderful post and some amazing pictures.

  4. Thanks, I enjoyed the lesson. I have not seen a Osprey before.
    We watch a web cam of eagles and it is amazing to watch the baby's grow.

  5. Such an exciting event to happen so close! And this post was wonderful, Mom! I learned a great deal! I have always loved ospreys ever since I saw them over the little lake in our back yard in Florida. I did once see one carrying a fish and he was harassed by a smaller bird and dropped it. They are wonderful birds and I am so glad to know they mate for life. How cute to say they vacation apart, and that's probably why they stay together so long. Loved it! :-) Great post! Can't wait to see more of your osprey neighbors!

  6. so awesome! i'd love to see ospreys some time!

  7. What interesting info on the Osprey... Thanks for sharing. You are lucky to be there to watch them nest... I'll bet they were upset when the men were working on the tower....

    My Bluebirds are nesting here now --and it's exciting to watch them.


  8. This is very interesting. So happy you can enjoy observing these and sharing with us.

  9. What an amazing experience! How blessed you are to be able to watch this family from year to year! Thank you for sharing, Latane.

  10. What fabulous shots. How lovely to see osprey so close.

  11. Very nice pictures. Interesting that they prefer one corner of the tower.

  12. Nice shots. They are really beautiful birds.

  13. Lots of great images and information!! We have them here at the shore, they always return right around St. Pats day. They take up residence near by at a nature center, so we vists often!!

  14. I loved the lesson and you are so lucky to be able to observe them.

  15. Thanks for sharing, I didn't know they migrated, thought they probably stayed around here. Interesting facts. I'm glad you have a pair to observe. Funny comment about them taking separate vacations!


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